2015 Boating Educators of the Year


2015 National Boating Educator of the Year
Zac Campbell

Zac Campbell has proven to be a vital asset to the safe boating initiative in Kentucky. For example, he worked diligently with his agency’s conservation education personnel to include a boating safety message into their curriculum when they visit local schools. He purchased boating education DVDs to be presented in the classes. His efforts will result in over 75,000 fifth and sixth grade students hearing about boating safety.

Campbell has also been instrumental in developing the Kentucky Boat Safe App for smartphones. This free app will allow the user to contact the closest marina, summon law enforcement, send a float plan to a friend or send their current location at any time. The app will also allow the agency to send push notifications on various boating safety topics. Examples would be simple reminders prior to major boating weekends to wear life jackets and leave alcohol at home as well as notifications of hazardous water conditions or bad weather. This will be a valuable tool to stay in touch with our boating public.

KY_Zac CampbellDuring the summer weekends, Campbell personally visits several marinas across the state. While there, he meets with each marina owner, distributes safety materials and discusses ways to work together to make Kentucky waterways safer. He also interacts with boaters, conducting vessel safety inspections with a focus on the importance of life jacket wear.

Campbell’s work creating audio public service announcements has earned first place three out of the last four years in the media contest held at the International Boating and Water Safety. He also won AAF-ADDY award for one of his radio PSAs. He coordinates the purchase of air time with local radio stations so the public can hear the important messages statewide. He has also shared several of his award-winning PSAs with other states for them to utilize in their programs.

2015 Northern Region Boating Educator of the Year
Dave White
New York
As a recreation/tourism specialist, Dave White is constantly moving forward with a single-minded determination to improve boater safety. He is skillful at integrating a boating safety message into all Sea Grant programs that he administrates.

White has been a volunteer boating safety instructor with New York State since 1995. He is a consummate and effective educator with a unique and charismatic way of speaking. Key to his success as a powerful boating safety educator is his hands-on approach, integration of the boating safety message with all boating related programs sponsored through Sea Grant, networking with other boating safety organizations, bringing other boating organizations into embracing the safety message and being an inspirational speaker.

One example of White’s effectiveness is his success in spearheading a major exhibit at the New York State Fair. Called the GREAT WRECKS OF THE GREAT LAKES, the exhibit featured the cultural underwater resources of ship wrecks in the Great Lakes. White ensured that boating safety information was prominently featured and representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons, and Boy Scouts were present to answer questions from the public. While fairgoers learned interesting historical and cultural information about ship wrecks, they also had the opportunity to learn how to “boat wreckless” themselves. More than 100,000 people passed through the two-week display.

White also participates in Empire Farm Days. This unique venue is a farm equipment open-air trade show where in addition to bringing the Clean and Safe Boat, he conducts in-water life jacket demonstrations in the farm pond. The show is favorite attraction as attendees flock to watch White and his helpers jump into the water, capsize canoes and float in various styles of life jackets. The show also connects with a hard-to- reach Mennonite population in the state’s agricultural community. White collaborates with the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary, United States Power Squadrons and New York State Parks, Marine Services to help with the demos.

2015 Western Region Boating Educator of the Year
Charlie Schaefer
Charlie Schaefer is a shared resource between two states: Idaho and Washington. He has a true passion for boating safety and has been a boat safety instructor for Idaho since 1991 and Washington since 2007. He enjoys teaching children about water safety and uses interactive methods to demonstrate key points. For example, during his numerous safety talks for cub scouts, boy scouts, and other organizations, he uses “Aqua Bear” to highlight the importance of wearing a life jacket. And his “Captain Alcohol” skit is very popular with students both young and old and hits home the difficulties of trying to put on a life jacket while under the influence of alcohol.

Most recently, Schaefer has started teaching boating safety to local Boy Scouts and their parents. The response has been phenomenal. His first class had 61 students!

Schaefer is also involved in teaching boating safety classes in Idaho and Washington. He has successfully taught approximately 1,110 students since Washington implemented a mandatory boat education law in 2008. He has helped establish 12 life jacket loaners programs in Washington the past few years and travels all over the state including Grand Coulee, Vancouver and Everett to teach classes and certify new instructors.

One of Schaefer’s goals is to help provide resources for local sheriffs’ offices. Specifically, he actively tries to recruit retired persons to volunteer time to assist agencies for their boat safety education and outreach events.

In 1999, he received an Award of Merit from the National Water Safety Congress for his efforts to promote safe boating on Lake Pend Oreille and other waters in Northern Idaho and Eastern Washington. Schaefer has also been recognized by the Pend Oreille County Sheriff’s Office in Washington for his involvement in their boat safety education program.

Generously sponsored by BoaterExam.com, the Boating Educator of the Year Award was launched by NASBLA in 2011 to recognize those who go above to engage students and boaters, raise awareness, and make boating education initiatives relevant, thorough and exciting.

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